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Salvador Dalí (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989)

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), known as Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, Spain. (Picture: Salvador Dalí photographed by Carl Van Vechten on November 29, 1939)

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí's expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his "love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes" to a self-styled "Arab lineage", claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.

Salvador Dali was one of the most popular and innovative artists of the twentieth century. As the most famous surrealist, he explored the unknown with extraordinary vigor and captured visions of unearthly beauty. He was a flamboyant celebrity, even hobnobbing with Andy WARHOL at Studio 54 in New York during the 1970s.


Galarina, 1945 (Galarina is at once one of the best portraits that Salvador Dalí did of Gala and also a great homage to Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio, 1483-1520), one of the masters of the Italian Renaissance for whom he felt most devotion. The title and composition of Galarina are a direct allusion to Salvador Dalí's intention of emulating his admired master when the latter painted the portrait La Fornarina (c. 1518). That painting was not only a classic Venus, but also the unfinished portrait of Margherita Luti, daughter of a baker ("fornaio") from Trastevere, and lover and muse of Raphael.)

Dali’s beloved wife Gala inspired many of his greatest works, though they reportedly had sex only once during their forty-eight years together. Neurotic about his self-perceived sexual inadequacy, perhaps even physically unable to have sex, Dali was most comfortable playing the role of voyeur.

Spanish poet Federico Garcia LORCA attempted to seduce Dali, with some success. In 1969, Dali told interviewer Alain Bosquet about Lorca, "He was homosexual, as everyone knows, and madly in love with me. He tried to screw me twice... I was extremely annoyed, because I wasn’t homosexual, and I wasn’t interested in giving in. Besides, it hurts. So nothing came of it. But I felt awfully flattered vis-a-vis the prestige. Deep down I felt that he was a great poet and that I owe him a tiny bit of the Divine Dali’s asshole." (Picture: Federico Garcia Lorca)

The 2008 film Little Ashes, starring Robert Pattison as Dali and Javier Beltran as Lorca, explores their intimate relationship. Clearly, though Dali claimed he wasn’t homosexual, he gave it a try with Lorca and others.

Throughout his life Dali was sexually fascinated by boys and men. He had a longtime physically intimate relationship with one of his wealthy patrons, bisexual English poet Edward James. According to Francine Prose in The Lives of the Muses, James paid off Gala with jewelery when she discovered his affair with her husband. (Picture: Edward James by René Magritte, La Reproduction Interdite (1937))

Dali’s most unusual relationship was with Amanda Lear, the mysteriously ambiguous French disco singer. According to some reports, Dali met Lear in the 1950s, when she was a boy named Alain Tapp, performing in drag as Peki d’Oslo at the gay Carousel Club in Paris. Supposedly Dali created a new female persona for Tapp, going so far as to arrange a sex-change operation in Morocco. Other reports have them being introduced by Rolling Stone Brian Jones in 1965. What’s known for sure is that for several years in the 1960s Lear and Dali were an item, with Dali promoting Lear to all the movers and shakers in the art, music, and fashion worlds.

Later Amanda Lear married Alain-Philippe Malagnac d'Argens de Villèle (1951 - December 16, 2000) the former, and probably still, lover of writer Roger Peyrefitte (August 17, 1907 – November 5, 2000); Alain and Roger died less than 1 months from each other in 2000. (Picture: Amanda Lear with Alain-Philippe Malagnac d'Argens de Villèle)

Dalí produced over 1,500 paintings in his career in addition to producing illustrations for books, lithographs, designs for theatre sets and costumes, a great number of drawings, dozens of sculptures, and various other projects, including an animated short film for Disney. He also collaborated with director Jack Bond in 1965, creating a movie titled Dalí in New York. Below is a chronological sample of important and representative work, as well as some notes on what Dalí did in particular years.

In Carlos Lozano's biography, Sex, Surrealism, Dalí, and Me, produced with the collaboration of Clifford Thurlow, Lozano makes it clear that Dalí never stopped being a surrealist. As Dalí said of himself: "the only difference between me and the surrealists is that I am a surrealist."

The largest collections of Dalí's work are at the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, followed by the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, which contains the collection of A. Reynolds Morse & Eleanor R. Morse. It holds over 1,500 works from Dalí. Other particularly significant collections include the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and the Salvador Dalí Gallery in Pacific Palisades, California. Espace Dalí in Montmartre, Paris, France, as well as the Dalí Universe in London, England, contain a large collection of his drawings and sculptures.

The unlikeliest venue for Dalí's work was the Rikers Island jail in New York City; a sketch of the Crucifixion he donated to the jail hung in the inmate dining room for 16 years before it was moved to the prison lobby for safekeeping. Ironically, the drawing was stolen from that location in March 2003 and has not been recovered.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Dal%C3%AD


Untitled. The First Days of Spring, c. 1922-23


Cadaqués Seen From the Tower of Les Creus, c.1923


"Berceuse locale", c.1923


Portrait of My Sister, 1925


Port Alguer, c.1923


Self-Portrait with "L'Humanité", 1923


The Smiling Venus, c.1921


Automatic Beginning of a Portrait of Gala, 1932


Barcelona Mannequin, 1926


Girl from Figueres, 1926


Inaugural Goose Flesh, 1928


Portrait of Gala with Two Lamb Chops Balanced on Her Shoulder, 1933


Woman-Animal Symbiosis, 1928


Rotting Bird, c.1928


Dematerialization Near the Nose of Nero, 1947


The Image Disappears, 1938


"FEATHER EQUILIBRIVM". Intraatomic Equilibrium of a Swan's Feather, 1947


Surrealist Composition with Invisible Figures, c.1936


Portrait of Pablo Picasso in the Twenty-first Century (One of a series of portraits of Geniuses: Homer, Dali, Freud, Christopher Columbus, William Tell, etc.), 1947


The Basket of Bread, 1945


Poetry of America, 1943


Soft Self Portrait with Grilled Bacon, 1941


Singularities, c. 1935


Face of Mae West Which Can Be Used as an Apartment (instalation), c.1974


Rhinocerontic Figure of "Illisus" of Phidias, 1954


Gala Nude Looking at the Sea Which at 18 Metres Appears the President Lincoln, 1975


Dalí Seen from the Back Painting Gala from the Back Eternalized by Six Virtual Corneas Provisionally Reflected by Six Real Mirrors, 1972-73


Apotheosis of the Dollar, 1965


Galatea of the Spheres, 1952


Atomic Leda, 1949


Figures of the Allegory of Memory, 1981


Geological Echo. La Pietà, 1982


The Path of the Enigma, 1981


Dawn, Noon, Afternoon and Evening, 1979


Dalí Lifting the Skin of the Mediterranean Sea to Show Gala the Birth of Venus. Stereoscopic work, 1978


Further Readings:

Salvador Dali by Kenneth Wach
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1st edition. edition (September 1, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0810932350
ISBN-13: 978-0810932357
Amazon: Salvador Dali

For this book, 40 works have been selected from the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg, Florida. They include still lifes from Dali's youth, a number of Surrealist beach scenes remarkable for their mysterious vistas and obsessive sexuality, and some troubling depictions of the distorted human body. The works range from epic, mural-size canvases to small, subtly rendered studies. Accompanying the illustrations are extensive commentaries by Kenneth Wach, who discusses both the style of the works and their often complex psychological content. He also provides an introduction which gives a broad overview of Dali's development from his childhood efforts in Catalonia to his participation in the Surrealist movement in Paris and his later works executed in the United States and Spain.

The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired by Francine Prose
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 7, 2003)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060555254
ISBN-13: 978-0060555252
Amazon: The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired

All loved, and were loved by, their artists, and inspired them with an intensity of emotion akin to Eros.

In a brilliant, wry, and provocative book, National Book Award finalist Francine Prose explores the complex relationship between the artist and his muse. In so doing, she illuminates with great sensitivity and intelligence the elusive emotional wellsprings of the creative process.

More Artists at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art


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Tags: art, gay classics
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